Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Williams, Dokic Win at Amelia

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Williams, Dokic Win at Amelia

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeff Elliott and Laurie Cason, Times-Union sports writers

After sitting around waiting for rain showers to stop, top-seeded Venus Williams and third-seeded Jelena Dokic put on a display late last night that few others have matched in the first four days of the Bausch & Lomb Championships at Amelia Island Plantation.

Williams had to be at her best at the stadium court last night because unheralded Anastasia Myskina was ready for almost everything Williams sent at her. The world's second-ranked player beat the Russian challenger 6-4, 7-6 (5), but not without some tense moments.

"I felt like I played well tonight, and I think she played well, too," said Williams, who advanced to a quarterfinal matchup with Paola Suarez this afternoon.

Dokic put on a dazzling display of shots against an overmatched Mary Pierce, beating the 1998 Bausch & Lomb champion, 6-2, 6-0 in 39 minutes.

"I'm just glad to finally get the match in," said Dokic, who will play Emmanuelle Gagliardi in the quarterfinals. "I waited around all night yesterday [Wednesday] to play, and then sat around all day today waiting to play. It's difficult; it's mentally frustrating. The courts were heavy and the balls were heavy, but you expect that after the weather we've had."

Earlier in the day, the grandstand court at Amelia Island Plantation was a lonely place to be. The stands were empty. The court was empty.

And a garbage can placed next to the net contained the only necessary explanation.

Rain water -- 3 inches of it -- filled the bottom of the can by late afternoon, the result of storms that first moved into the area late Wednesday afternoon.

For the first time in the last 10 years -- the limit to the time frame weather data is available -- the Bausch & Lomb Championships lost back-to-back sessions on multiple days because of rain. Though the rain stopped in late afternoon, the courts were so wet that play did not resume until just before 8 p.m., nearly an hour after the night session's scheduled start.

The extra wait didn't seem to bother Williams and Myskina. After losing the first set, the Russian forced the second-set tiebreaker.

"When it got to a tiebreaker in the second set, I just wanted to concentrate on getting one point at a time," Williams said. "I just think of the tiebreaker as a specialty kind of game."

Myskina, who pushed Williams to a three-set match before losing 6-4 in the third in their only other meeting, at Dubai last February, had opportunities in the tiebreaker. She led 3-1, when she hit a drop shot too far, allowing Williams to track it down and win the point.

At 5-5, Myskina hit an overhead smash that Williams had to stretch to get back to Myskina, who netted the fairly easy volley. Williams closed out the match by putting Myskina on the defensive, forcing her to eventually hit a wide shot. …

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